Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services has completed a “highly successful” pilot project at a school in Brentwood which offered drop-in counselling support to students.

The trial - at Brentwood County High School - took place over 15 weeks ending in March 2019 - and involved setting up a Pop-Up Craft Café inside the school building.

Students were invited to visit the cafe where they had the opportunity to discuss any issues on their mind.

The initiative was run by professional counsellor Jo Patten Walsh ( BA(Hons) Dip Couns/MBACP) and was supported by Sarah-Jane Archer who engaged with students through art and craft activities while they talked about any personal concerns they may have.

Louise Mundy, Business Manager at Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services, said: “The young people thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, the friendships they made are continuing to flourish and they made good use of the opportunity to talk.

“Thank you to the school for helping make this happen, to Jo and Sarah-jane for their creative ideas and to the students for showing us that this is a worthwhile new way for us to be working in schools”.

The team at Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services is now reviewing feedback from the trial before announcing any further trials or rollout of the concept.

Research by the NHS suggests that one in ten children aged 5-15 have a diagnosable mental health condition.

Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services offers regular one-to-one counselling services to primary and secondary school children and has delivered 274 sessions in the past 12 months to primary-aged children (funded by BBC Children In Need) and 775 for young people of secondary school age (funded by HBBS).